Their days in the military may be over, but some retired Navy Seabees say they're still ready and willing to answer the call to serve. This week 20 former Seabees from Pennsylvania are working on several homes in Long Beach. The volunteers say all the homeowners have military ties.
Catherine Broussard says after Katrina, retired Seabees were among the volunteers that helped her pick up the pieces.
"They came in May and they put a new back on my house," said Broussard. "There was no back. There was nothing. They put in new windows and did a lot of work."
Five months later, it's move in day at the Broussard house. Once again the Pennsylvania group has come to town to help.
"A sense of finality, that maybe by the time we leave Sunday morning, she can be in her house and get rid of this trailer. That would be a wonderful thing," said retired Seabee Jerry McKee. "
The volunteers say the lessons they learned in the military didn't fade when they went back to civilian life.
McKee said, "For anybody that's ever been to Arlington National Cemetery, the first monument you see when you head in is ours. The Seabee Memorial is on the right hand side. One of the inscriptions on the monument is that, 'The difficult, we do it once. The impossible takes a bit longer.' Another inscription says, 'With compassion for others we build and we fight.' So that says it all."
Broussard said, "It's like a big family. We're Air Force retired and my daughter is Air Force. The military is just like a big family, and we all help one another."
The volunteers say they believe helping those in need is the foundation on which this country was built.
Not all the volunteers at the Broussard home were former Seabees. The retired military members also brought several friends with them to help rebuild the coast.